When shopping for a night vision monocular, the most important factor to consider other than quality and performance is size. After all, that’s what differentiates it from other night vision optics. The best monoculars are compact, lightweight, and easy to use. They should also hold up to the same level of performance and durability as one would expect from a rifle scope, goggles, or binoculars.
Due to its lightweight and compact size, a monocular can be mounted to other gear for hands-free utilization. If you can’t spare a hand, just stick the monocular onto a tripod, helmet or weapon. Another benefit of using a monocular is the cost; they can get the job done at a fraction of the cost of other night vision equipment.
Monoculars are very versatile, used in not just hunting but also recreationally for hikes at night, camping, and wildlife observation among other things. If you have the cash, the higher end models can be used for rescue missions, military training as well as surveillance and security.
Whether you are patiently staking out a target or always on the move, the benefits of a night vision monocular cannot be overstated.
Best Night Vision Monoculars under $200
Night vision monoculars will cost you an arm and a leg for the higher end models. As such, the focus of this review is to find the best ones on a budget that will get the job done to your satisfaction. Don’t let the low price tag fool you, these products can hold their own against harsh environments and can take a beating.
For those who are nighttime hunters, nature watchers, or general outdoor enthusiasts who aren’t afraid of exploring in the dark, then the Astromania night vision monocular is a great choice for you.
Even in low-light conditions, the high-sensitivity sensor will help you see from a maximum distance of 328 feet. Even though this is enough for most, you can further improve the performance from the sensor using the IR LED illuminator to boost the focusing and image quality.
With the 3x magnification feature, you can get detailed close-ups of wildlife or distant fauna easily. The photo and video functionality lets you capture your experiences and download them to your hard drive. The included 1GB micro SD card should get you started, along with the mini USB cable for transferring, and a soft protective case and strap for hands-free transportation.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Multi-coated lenses and high sensitivity sensors
- Photo and video capable
- Rubber material on the body provides excellent grip
- Simple design is good for beginners
- Barebones features, but expected due to the price
- One user did not receive a functioning unit, reported that it shut off intermittently
Bushnell Equinox Z
The Bushnell Equinox Z is effective during the day and at night, with magnification ranging from 1x to 3x. Depending on which model you buy, you can view targets at ranges of 500 feet, 750 feet, and 1000 feet respectively.
The 4.5x and 6x models are more than just monoculars, with their versatile cameras that can record videos and take photos onto a micro SD card. You can even transfer the file in real-time as you are filming using the included video data cable.
Get stunning details and views of the wildlife with the help of the multi-coated glass optics, and the IR light will offer a better performance at night. The Bushnell Equinox can be mounted on a monopod or tripod for extra stability and clearer shots.
- Comes included with infrared illuminator that provides views at a range of 1000 feet
- Can be monopod and tripod mounted
- Wide field of view with its 50mm diameter lens
- Adjustable IR brightness for further clarity
- One user felt the image quality was not up to par, but other buyers disagreed
- Some users had trouble learning how to use the Equinox
This night vision monocular from Solomark is perfect for surveillance, nighttime treks, and hunting. The lenses are multi-coated, providing excellent clarity and light transmission, allowing one to see every detail even in the darkness.
The Solomark monocular features 7 levels of assisting IR LED light to increase performance and brightness, allowing you to monitor targets at a distance of 328 feet. Capture your favorite moments with one press of a button and store it in the included 4GB micro SD card.
Mounting the Solomark to a tripod will allow you to film at night with zero shakiness or blurred images from the dark environment. Lastly, the zoom functionality can enlarge the photo size between 1.3x to 2x magnification.
- Compact and easy to carry
- Can be mounted on a tripod for hands-free operation
- Observe wildlife or provide surveillance
- Comes included with 4GB micro SD card, USB cable, neck strap, and protective case
- Requires 4 AA batteries to operate, which have to be purchased separately
- Some users feel this monocular is best suited for static use, though some users jad no issue using it on the move
- A user had an issue with the focus knob being unresponsive
OPTISCOPE Premium Night Vision Monocular
For a budget product, the Optiscope will be sure to impress you with its features. User reviews consistently praise its excellent detection range of up to 100 yards in the dark. Some say the Optiscope can be pushed further than that, and when using the 3x zoom magnification feature, you can spot targets or details from even further away.
The Optiscope comes with multi-coated lenses to maintain high optical quality in low-light environments. Furthermore, the camera and recording functionality could be the main draw for you. Film or take pictures onto the 4GB mini SD card that comes included with the Optiscope, and share with family and friends your outdoor experiences.
Despite the claims from Optiscope stating that premium quality materials were used and strict quality control procedures were conducted, at the end of the day this is still a budget product and surely some corners were cut. Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase any extra warranty since Optiscope offers a 1-year limited guarantee to address common problems that may arise.
For a product in the $100 price range, it’s worth at least trying to satisfy your curiosity if you are a hobbyist looking to get into outdoor adventuring. After you’ve gotten a taste, then you can consider moving on to the higher end models.
- 3x magnification
- Multi-coated lenses
- Photo/video capability with 4GB mini SD card included
- 1-year guarantee
- Quality issues despite “premium” materials
The benefit of using a monocular over other night vision optics such as binoculars, rifle scopes, or goggles are how much smaller and lightweight they are. Monoculars are also much more affordable, and even the best night vision monocular under $200 will be more than capable enough for nighttime hikes, wildlife observation, or even surveillance. Unfortunately, due to their low cost, you are sacrificing some features such as a wider field of view and magnification. With that said, with a long IR light range you can still expect crisp images even at night. So for those on a budget or just getting started with nighttime excursions, then get yourself a night vision monocular.